Former President Donald Trump was expected to deliver remarks blasting electric vehicle mandates in Michigan Wednesday night, skipping the second Republican primary debate in a bid to garner support in the battleground state during a weeks-long autoworker strike.
The 77-year-old’s primetime speech at Drake Enterprises — an auto parts manufacturer outside of Detroit – will focus on unions and workers, his track record of protecting American workers and jobs and his plans for a potential second term, spokesman Steven Cheung told the Post.
Another big part of Trump’s speech will be rallying against President Biden’s rapid push for electric vehicle manufacturing, “which is a big reason why union members are upset,” Cheung said.
“I would expect him to really focus in on how the electric vehicle mandate – which was supported by union leadership – has really hurt the actual union workers,” added a Trump ally who spoke on condition of anonymity. “That will be a big theme of his messaging.”
The Republican presidential frontrunner has repeatedly hit Biden over his electric vehicle policies, arguing on Truth Social that an EV mandate will “annihilate the US auto industry and cost countless thousands of autoworkers their jobs.”
The White House aims to have 50% of all new vehicle production be electric by 2030, and has implemented measures to accelerate the transition. In April, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued historically strict federal vehicle emissions standards which could result in electric vehicles accounting “for 67% of new light-duty vehicle sales” by 2032.
United Auto Workers members have expressed concerns in their demands about the shifting landscape of the industry — partly due to the electric vehicle push, which would require fewer laborers.
Despite the opposition, Biden himself joined the strikers in a Michigan picket line Tuesday — for all of 12 minutes.
Before Trump’s hard line on EVs, the former president had offered support for their production, saying in a 2020 debate against Biden that he was “all for electric cars” and that he had “given big incentives for electric cars.”
In 2019, Trump backed General Motors’ plan to sell their Lordstown, Ohio manufacturing plant to Workhorse to produce electric trucks.
“GREAT NEWS FOR OHIO! Just spoke to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, who informed me that, subject to a UAW agreement etc., GM will be selling their beautiful Lordstown Plant to Workhorse, where they plan to build Electric Trucks,” Trump tweeted at the time.
In 2020, Trump hosted an event at the White House celebrating Lordstown Motors’ new electric pickup truck, calling it an “incredible vehicle.” Lordstown Motors filed for bankruptcy this past June.
“President Trump is 100% opposed to Biden’s cruel government mandate forcing a rapid and reckless transition to electric vehicles far beyond what consumers want, what workers can accept, what manufacturers can affordably produce, and what our infrastructure can even sustain,” Cheung said. “President Trump never mandated anything. He is for consumer choice and the protection of the American autoworker, and always has been. Joe Biden is for his brutal government dictate that stabs union workers in the back and kills their jobs to send the auto industry to China.
“Saying you’re for electric vehicles isn’t the same as saying you’re for mandates.”
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